Matching markets to skills of refugees
If you’re graduating medical school in the U.S. today, you enter a preference matching system to find your first job. Graduates rank their choice of residency programs, and hospitals rank their choice of students who have applied. A computer figures out the best set of matches for everyone. Dating websites operate on a looser but similar principle.
"What we rarely do is ask refugees what they want, where they want to go," says Betts. "But I’d argue we can do that and still make everyone better off." Colleagues of his, Will Jones and Alexander Teytelboym, recently laid out how matching markets could work for refugees. Refugees would rank their preference of destinations, and states could rank the types of refugees they seek based on skills or language criteria. To be fair to all refugees, there would also need to be quotas for diversity and based on vulnerability—but it’s a way to increase the possibility that all parties are satisfied. This could be used inside countries, too, where governments struggle to convince local communities to accept refugee communities. "We often send engineers to rural areas and farmers to cities, which makes no sense at all," says Betts.
The Refugee Studies Center's Alexander Betts thinks that simple changes—such as giving refugees travel documents and matching their jobs with the needs of host countries—could change how we solve the crisis.